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5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards Categories

Entries are now closed. Finalists will be announced in mid-October!

Invisible People: Changing the Story of Homelessness

Finalist in Nonprofit

Objective

THE PUBLIC’S INABILITY TO RELATE TO HOMELESSNESS IS OUR BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO ENDING IT.

Most people blame homelessness on the person experiencing it instead of on the shortage of affordable housing, gainful employment, living wages, childhood trauma, or countless other reasons that put a person at risk. This lack of understanding creates a dangerous cycle of misperception that leads to the inability to effectively address the root causes of homelessness and poverty, as public sentiment affects public policy.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about homelessness through innovative storytelling and news in North America and the United Kingdom.

Invisible People humanizes homelessness by giving a voice to people living on the streets and making their stories impossible to ignore. At the same time, we strive to educate communities about the systemic issues that contribute to the problem, such as job insecurity and the criminalization of homelessness. Our groundbreaking educational content appeals to the hearts and minds of concerned citizens, reaching more than a billion people every year across the globe.

We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Until then, we strive to be the most trusted source for homelessness news, education, and advocacy.

Strategy

AWARENESS + EDUCATION = ACTION

As our homeless crisis grows at epidemic proportions, so does community resistance to solutions that will save lives and save taxpayer money. Opposition against the creation of new supportive housing units and homeless shelters is often fueled by negative perceptions of homelessness and homeless people.

We believe that awareness combined with education leads to action. Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand. We provide context for one of society’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories that bring the pain, hardship, and hopelessness that millions face each day into focus.

In addition to our first-person video interviews, mini-documentaries on YouTube, we publish original news content on homelessness five days a week, and our posts are syndicated on Apple News and Google News. Our writers have their fingers on the pulse of homeless communities. Many are formerly or currently homeless themselves. They are the real experts, passionate about ending homelessness.

We also host an online portal for young adults to learn about homelessness and related topics, as well as an advocacy platform that empowers people to contact their state and federal legislators to influence policy change. 

Invisible People's online peer support group for homeless people was recently featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. We facilitate online peer support and virtual case management to over 1,300 homeless and formerly homeless people. 

As part of our strategy to reach new networks outside of the social services sector, we partner with major brands like Ford, Hanes, Pepsi, and YouTube on cause and educational campaigns. YouTube selected Invisible People to represent California in the United States of YouTube. YouTube's campaign featured Invisible People on Twitter and all of their social media channels, including educating people on homelessness via IG Stories. This past August, Invisible People worked with Hanes to donate 1 million masks to homeless people and an education campaign to encourage people to wear masks. Over the last ten years, we've partnered with Hanes to donate over 3 million pairs of socks to homeless people. 

Invisible People reaches over one billion people every year leveraging social media and YouTube to educate the general public on the realities of homelessness. In addition, Invisible People serves as both an expert and resource in the realm of educational content, homelessness news, advocacy, and support. Invisible People generates a yearly minimum of 90 million video views on YouTube with 670,000 subscribers and growing. Our social media generated 34,657,155 impressions in the last year. Invisible People's reach is amplified through earned media. 

Results

As a result of Invisible People's work, individuals have been housed, homeless people reunited with families, housing and feeding programs have been created, and millions of people have a new understanding of homelessness and homeless people.  

A few highlights:

In 2019, Venice Beach brought Invisible People in for six weeks to counter the harmful narrative NIMBY opposition was spreading on homelessness attempting to block support services. 

In 2016, the City and County of Los Angeles commissioned Invisible People to help pass Proposition HHH (supportive housing) and Measure H (sales tax), two homeless bonds that will raise $4.6 billion dollars in ten years! Seven of the top ten posts shared during Prop HHH came from Invisible People far above the LA Times and celebrity videos. 

In 2012, Hanes partnered with Invisible People on an educational campaign that reached 132 million people in 30 days. In 2017, we gave smartphones to three homeless people to share a day in their life on Instagram Stories that reached 15 million young adults.

In 2011, the Canadian government commissioned Invisible People to travel to 24 cities in Canada to launch the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

Google asked Invisible People to produce video interviews of homeless people to be played for President Obama, in 2011, prior to his State of the Union YouTube interview.

In August 2018, Dateline NBC featured Invisible People in an hour-long special on homelessness. City of Angels was nominated for an Emmy in 2019.

 

Media

Video for Invisible People: Changing the Story of Homelessness

Produced by

Invisible People

Links

Entry Credits

About the Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media.

Millions of people participate in The Shortys to recognize individuals and organizations producing great content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, Snapchat, and the rest of the social web.

winners and honorees will be announced at the shorty social good awards digital ceremony on november 19!